The slow recovery of air traffic

THE FIGURE OF THE WEEK. According to IATA, the number of passengers will exceed 4 billion in 2023, but will stay 14.5% lower than its pre-pandemic level.

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The number of air passengers should also rise again next year above the 4 billion mark to reach 4.2 billion. Illustrative photo.

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SAccording to forecasts by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), airlines should return to profitability in 2023, generating profits of $4.7 billion worldwide. In 2022, they will still post losses estimated at $6.9 billion, significantly lower, however, than the record losses of $42 billion suffered in 2021 and $137.7 billion in 2020 due to the pandemic. Airlines had made $26.4 billion in profits in 2019.

Regionally, North American airlines should post profits of $9.9 billion this year, unlike Asian airlines, which should record losses of $10 billion, and European airlines (-$3.1 billion). ).

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Also according to IATA projections, the number of air passengers should also rise again next year above the 4 billion mark to reach 4.2 billion. Passenger traffic would however remain, in 2023, still 14.5% lower than its pre-health crisis level. In 2022, and despite a rebound of 69.4% compared to 2021, it was down 29.4% compared to 2019. With a number of passengers still lower in 2022 by 55.7% than its pre-pandemic level, the Asia-Pacific region remains the most affected, ahead of Africa (-32.3%), the Middle East (-20.7%), Europe (-18.6%) and North America (-8.6%).

According to statistics from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the number of air passengers reached a record high of 4.56 billion in 2019 before collapsing by 60% in 2020 to fall to 1.81. billion, thus returning to its 2004 level. As a reminder, the number of air passengers was 310 million in 1970, 1.02 billion in 1990, 1.67 billion in 2000 and 2.6 billion in 2010. In China, the number air passengers have multiplied by almost 1,000 since 1974, when it was only 710,000. It had reached 16 million in 1990, 62 million in 2000, 266 million in 2010 and 660 million in 2019.

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